Artist: 3rd Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21, ca. 1069-945 B.C.
Title: Ushabti Figure
Overall: 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm)
Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
Have you seen something like the before? Where?
What do you notice about the decorations?
How do you think this was made?
This small figurine represents a mummified human form. The figure was buried with the deceased and was intended to perform tasks in the afterlife. The word ushabti meant "follower" or "answerer", which was their role in the afterworld. These figures were created using many different materials, including wax, mud, wood, and faience. The figures would be placed around the coffin of the deceased, or could be laid to rest within their own container. This ushabti was created from the blue-green mixture called faience, with hieroglyphs written in a column down the front. Although crudely written, the hieroglyphs read, “The Osiris, the Divine father of [Amun], Imenemipet, justified”:
Much of what is known about ancient Egypt comes from the very things found in the tombs of their wealthy individuals. According to religious beliefs, ancient Egyptians were able to take their belongings into the afterworld. These possessions were buried within the tomb alongside the deceased, and scenes from their lives were painted on the tomb walls. Objects included in the tomb were things like jewelry, furnishings, games and even food. The remains of the deceased were carefully wrapped in linen to preserve, or mummify the body. Also buried with the dead were canopic jars, which held the stomach, intestines, lungs and liver from deceased. Because the tombs were protected from the elements, many of the contents from the graves have been well-preserved.